The documentary film The Great Global Warming Swindle aired earlier this month on British
television’s Channel 4. Director Martin Durkin’s 75-minute production combines
interviews with distinguished scientists, a sober narrative, and damning graphs
and statistics to challenge the core claims of global warming theory. The film
also alleges that government funding for climate change research is perverting
science and fueling a political agenda of massive state intervention in local
economies. Program viewers have noticed: They’re
blogging feverishly about the film, downloading it from YouTube (over 249,000
hits), and lashing out at slanted media coverage.

To devoted opponents of global warming, it must have seemed
like the makings of a perfect storm: Al Gore pocketed an Oscar for his doomsday
climate documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. The International Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report with dire warnings about man-made carbon
dioxide emissions. British Secretary of State for the Environment, David
Milibrand, introduced the first-ever climate change bill in the House of
Commons. Even President George W. Bush offered conciliatory talk about the
importance of reducing carbon pollutants.

 

But then an unwelcome squall appeared on the horizon: The documentary film The Great Global Warming Swindle aired earlier this month on British
television’s Channel 4. Director Martin Durkin’s 75-minute production combines
interviews with distinguished scientists, a sober narrative, and damning graphs
and statistics to challenge the core claims of global warming theory. The film
also alleges that government funding for climate change research is perverting
science and fueling a political agenda of massive state intervention in local
economies. "The death of this theory will be painful and ugly," Durkin wrote
recently in The Telegraph. "But it will die."

The fierce response to the film suggests it has struck a nerve not only with
establishment opinion, but also with an audience weary of being hectored by
media elites and environmental activists.

Climate change is a fact of earth’s history. What is mistaken, the program’s
dissenting scientists say, is the claim that a slight rise in temperature over
the last century is caused by carbon emissions–mostly man-made–which trap
infrared radiation from the sun. "A detailed look at recent climate change
reveals that the temperature rose prior to 1940," explains paleoclimatologist
Ian Clark, "but unexpectedly dropped in the post-war economic boom, when carbon
dioxide emissions rose dramatically." Just the opposite, in other words, of what
global warming theory predicts.

The film notes that much more carbon dioxide is produced by natural means
than by industrial emissions: Volcanic emissions, carbon dioxide from animals,
bacteria, decaying vegetation, and the oceans "outweigh our own production
several times over." We’re also reminded that as recently as the 1970s the
scientific community was convinced that earth was headed for another ice
age
–and balked at the suggestion that greenhouse gases could ward off a
chilly future. So what might explain the current warming trend? Durkin’s team of
climatologists and astrophysicists point to evidence suggesting that as
radiation from the sun varies–measured, for example, by sun-spot activity–the
earth tends to heat up or cool down. "Solar activity," the film alleges, "very
precisely matches the plot of temperature change over the last 100 years."

A heliocentric theory for climate change? The documentary has sent scientific
authorities and activists into attack mode. Sir John Houghton, chairman of the
Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, insists that global warming is a
"weapon of mass destruction." The Independent, a notorious megaphone for
environmental activism, launched an "investigation" into the program and found
it "riddled with distortions and errors."

Yet the counter-charges mostly evade the issues raised by Durkin’s film: that
humans produce miniscule amounts of carbon emissions; that carbon samples from
polar ice sheets contradict global warming predictions; and that solar activity
corresponds closely to temperature change. Moreover, some of the
solutions–insisting on solar energy for developing nations, switching to
low-wattage light bulbs–appear ludicrous. Program viewers have noticed: They’re
blogging feverishly about the film, downloading it from YouTube (over 249,000
hits), and lashing out at slanted media coverage. "What a load of biased
baloney," complained a viewer of a recent BBC program. "Make us change all our
light bulbs? Someone really is taking the mickey."

No media outlet, in fact, has done more to promote global warming theories
than the ever-present BBC, which rarely questions climate-change orthodoxy.
BBC’s Radio 4, for example, launched a series last year called "Planet Earth
Under Threat," featuring "real examples of how global warming is affecting
animal and plant survival." Alistair Burnett, editor of the BBC’s World Tonight,
recently defended his network’s coverage with this unabashedly self-serving
question: "If the overwhelming majority of climatologists believe that climate
change is happening and is largely driven by human activity, do we distort the
picture of the scientific debate by airing the views of the small number of
dissenting scientists too often?"

Well, we can easily imagine BBC editors agonizing over that one. No wonder
critics in the film complain about a despotic tone to the debate. Even people
with impeccably green credentials, if they question global warming dogma, are
treated like heretics fit for the fire. "If you’re skeptical about the litany
behind climate change," says Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, "it’s
suddenly as if you’re a Holocaust denier." A development expert from Kenya sees
an ideology militantly opposed to modernization. "There is somebody keen to kill
the African dream, and the African dream is to develop," he says. "We are being
told don’t touch your resources, don’t touch your oil, don’t touch your coal;
that is suicide."

The Great Global Warming Swindle makes at least one incontestable
charge: A "discourse of catastrophe" has infected the scientific community’s
approach to global climate change and is shaping the budget priorities of
government. In this, the issue has taken on a quasi-religious character, with
devotees on a quest for radical lifestyle alternatives to avert an apocalyptic
future. "Monks have got something enduring," gushed an editor for BBC’s Radio 4,
"a sign post from them to us that could initiate a culture change shifting our
relationship with the environment."

Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the University of London
and a program participant, takes a dimmer view of the spiritual fervor inspiring
much of the movement. He worries about the way in which global warming provides
meaning and mission–and employment–to countless scientists, activists, and
journalists. "At the moment the greenhouse effect is like a puritanical
religion," he says, "and this is dangerous."

Dangerous, perhaps, but also profitable and difficult to dismantle: "If the
global warming virago collapses," Stott predicts, "there will be an awful lot of
people out of jobs."

Via The Daily Standard

The Great Global Warming Swindle Via YouTube